teton crest trail backpacking packing list

Teton Crest Trail Backpacking Gear List: Everything We Brought Hiking

Gear, food, and apparel are essential to every backpacking trip, though the specific items vary depending on the individual and their destination. On a recent backpacking trip in Grand Teton National Park, our editor took detailed notes on each item he and his wife chose to bring along.

teton crest trail backpacking packing list

On August 15, my wife and I set out to backpack 40 miles along the Teton Crest Trail. The trail is one-of-a-kind, paralleling the west side of the Teton mountain range via breathtaking mountain passes and basins. We took four days and three nights to complete the trek, soaking in the views and sleeping in epic locations along the way.

Here’s our comprehensive packing list, categorized by gear, food, and apparel. Hopefully, it will help you when you’re packing for your next backpacking trip. It’s worth noting that my wife and I aren’t ultralight hikers and opted for extra comforts this time around to help us enjoy our trip.

The Gear We Brought on the Teton Crest Trail

backpacking gear to pack

Backpacks: Osprey Atmos 65 and Jansport Katahdin 70

I’ve owned my Atmos 65 pack since 2011. It’s comfortable, has plenty of features, and has enough capacity for me to carry most of the bigger gear items. I always keep the pack cover (sold separately) in the outer stretch pocket.

After struggling to fit one of the bear canisters in my wife’s 34-liter Deuter backpack (pictured above), we quickly switched her to our only other pack, Jansport’s Katahdin 70. It’s large and heavy but performed well on our trek.

backpacking among wildflowers
Trekking through wildflowers with my Osprey Atmos 65 pack

Water Bladders: Osprey 3-Liter Reservoirs

Osprey recently rebuilt its 3-liter water bladder, and we love the new design. The bladder at the top of the gear picture is the older model with a screw-on cap. The cap is very finicky and, when not screwed on just right, tends to leak water.

The bladder below it is Osprey’s new Hydraulics Reservoir, with a larger top opening that closes with a sliding clamp and a detachable drinking hose that allows for easier removal of the bladder when it’s time to fill up. Our backpacks are both bladder compatible, and we’re fans of the 3-liter reservoir and the hands-free drinking.

Water Bottle: Camelbak Podium Big Chill 21oz Insulated Bottle

We bring a powder Gatorade mix on most backpacking trips to fuel us with electrolytes and give us something besides water to drink. This insulated bottle is reserved for the drink mix and kept handy in our backpack’s side pocket.

Tent: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

This ultralight two-person, two-vestibule tent is incredible. It weighs a mere 2 pounds 3 ounces, and the small package slides effortlessly into my pack. Read our full review here for more details.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Tent Review
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Sleeping Pad: Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Insulated Double

Easily inflated with the extra Pumphouse Ultra bag, this 3.5-inch-thick double sleeping pad makes for a plush backcountry bed. For a double pad, it’s small and lightweight enough to justify bringing on longer treks. Plus, it pairs well with our double sleeping bag (below).

Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Sentinel 30 Double

This double sleeping bag weighs less than our two individual sleeping bags combined, so why not go with the cuddle-friendly option? It’s filled with 600-fill DownTek water-repellent down and keeps us warm on near-freezing nights.

big agnes double sleeping bag

Blanket: Blue Ridge Home Fashions Packable Oversized Down Throw

We bring along this cheap down blanket when the nighttime temps might dip into the 30s. It stuffs into small crevices in my backpack and adds some extra warmth when cooking dinner or sleeping.

Pillows: Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium (Large)

These pillows are clutch! They pack up small and are super lightweight. Once inflated, they’re big enough to roll around on and way more comfortable than a wadded up jacket.

sea to summit backpacking pillows
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium (Large)

Camp Chairs: Helinox Chair Zero and REI Co-op Trail Chair

Helinox’s Chair Zero weighs 1 pound and fits easily into our backpack’s side water bottle pocket. It assembles quickly and provides a solid backrest after a long day on the trail.

REI’s Trail Chair is a classic camp chair, though a bit bulky and heavy. We roll it up and strap it to the bottom of a pack when hiking. Again, the back support is lovely once at camp.

Rain Tarp: ENO ProFly Rain Tarp

Though our tent has two vestibules, we sometimes bring this separate rain tarp for a more comfortable place to cook, chill at camp, and cover our gear in the event of a rainstorm. Our Teton Crest Trail forecast was indecisive on rain, so we erred on the safe side of having it if we needed it. We didn’t this time, but we’ve used it before. It provides great coverage, and the easy-adjust guy lines make it extremely easy to pull taut.

rain fly and camp chair
My wife hanging out in the Helinox Chair Zero under ENO’s ProFly Rain Tarp

Bear Canisters: Sabre Frontiersman Bear Safe Container

Bear canisters are required on all backcountry trips in Grand Teton National Park. Though bulky and cumbersome, our container worked like it was supposed to, securing our food and scented items from bears. We each stuffed one canister at the very bottom of our backpacks and accessed them from our bottom zippers when on the trail.

Bear Spray: Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Spray

Bear spray is also required on all backcountry trips in Grand Teton National Park. Our spray cost $45 and kept us less paranoid while in bear country. It’s like life insurance: You buy it hoping you’ll never need to use it.

Water Filter: Katadyn Gravity BeFree Water Filtration System – 3 liters

The Katadyn Gravity BeFree 3-liter water filter lets gravity do its thing — no pumping required. The 3-liter reservoir filters water at a rate of 2 liters per minute. The best part, though, is its compatibility with new water bladders. The filter’s hose snaps into the housing on our new Osprey 3-liter bladder and fills it up with no chance of spills. Check out our full review on the filter here.

Katadyn BeFree 3L Filter Review
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Stove: MSR PocketRocket Stove

I’ve owned this stove for over seven years now, and it’s still kicking. It’s compact and can easily boil a pot of water in a few minutes.

Propane: MSR IsoPro Canister Fuel

MSR makes small, medium, and large fuel canisters. We buy the medium-size ones, as they tend to last for three to five backpacking trips.

Lighters: BIC Classic Lighter

Cheap and effective, we bring two of these just in case one gets damaged or runs out of fuel.

Pot: GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.8-liter Ultralight Boiler Pot

This 1.8-liter pot weighs 11 ounces and is made of hard anodized aluminum. Its handle stays cool and flips up to lock the lid into place when stored. We typically just use it to boil water for backpacking meals, instant oatmeal, or instant coffee.

sipping coffee
Using our GSI Outdoors Halulite boiler pot, MSR PocketRocket Stove, and MSR fuel on a different backpacking trip in Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Sporks: Humangear GoBites Uno Spork

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our two sporks on this trip. So we had to clean off two of our extra tent stakes and use them as our utensils. Though a little sharp, they did the trick!

Coffee Mug: REI Co-op Recycled Camp Mug (20 fl. oz.)

This mug doesn’t get scalding hot like enamelware mugs tend to. The lid is also a nice plus.

Towel: Next Adventure Microfiber Camp Towel

We use this towel for everything: drying off after a swim, wiping down a wet tent, drying dishes, etc. It folds down small and actually soaks up moisture, while some other towels we’ve used just move water around.

Multitool: Leatherman Crater C33SX

Though we mostly use the knife on this multitool, a few of its other tools have come in handy on various trips. We use the flat screwdriver, for example, to open and close our bear canisters.

Trekking Poles: Leki Makalu Carbon Ultralight

My wife generally uses these poles and has found that they help relieve some back and knee pain on long uphills and downhills. They expand and contract to stow away on the outside of her backpack. Unfortunately, they’ve started contracting randomly when hiking, even with the mechanisms locked tight.

Headlamps: Ledlenser SEO 7R and UCO Air

Rechargeable lithium batteries power both headlamps, though the Ledlenser SEO 7R can also accommodate three AAA batteries as a backup. Each has a red light, which we use to preserve our night vision and keep bugs away. The Ledlenser’s beam can be adjusted from narrow to wide to properly light up things in the distance or up close.

Binoculars: Meade 10×25 Binoculars

These binoculars are a hand-me-down. Though not the best, they do come in handy for watching wildlife at a distance.

Portable Charger: myCharge RAZOR PLUS USB Portable Power Bank

We mostly bring along this portable charger to keep my iPhone from dying while on the trail. We use my phone for videos and pictures, and it’s nice to have some backup juice for it (or for our rechargeable headlamps). From our experience, this particular device can charge an iPhone from empty to full about 1.5 times.

Extra Tent Stakes: Wildish Aluminum Tent Stakes

If we’re caught in some rain and need to set up our rain tarp, we have a few extra stakes to secure its guy lines to the ground. On the Teton Crest Trail, we had to use these as our eating utensils since we had accidentally left our sporks behind.

Rope: Miscellaneous

You never know when some extra rope might be needed on a backpacking trip.

Compass: Suunto M-5 SK

It’s always good to have a compass as a backup if we happen to lose our way.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

We don’t always bring along our DSLR camera, but we couldn’t resist having it with us on this particularly scenic trail. Its images are super sharp, and we use it to capture vistas in a way our iPhones can’t.

scenery shot in the grand tetons
We took this photo with our Canon EOS Rebel T3i camera

First-Aid Kit: Miscellaneous

We assembled our own first-aid kit, complete with a few alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, gauze wrap, wound cleaning solution, bandage wrapping tape, and Dermabond skin adhesive.

Blister Treatment: Body Glide Foot Anti Blister Balm

This compact foot “stick” is easy to apply to hot spots, intended to lubricate areas that are being rubbed uncomfortably. Though it doesn’t completely prevent blisters, it tends to slow the process a bit.

Toilet Paper: Scott 1000 Septic Safe Toilet Paper

Because we have a composting toilet in our RV, we use biodegradable toilet paper regularly. Usually, we toss a roll or a fistful of sheets into a ziplock baggie for use in the backcountry. Even though it’s biodegradable, we always pack it out.

Body Wipes: Huggies Natural Care Fragrance-Free Wipes

We like having a sanitation option. These we use to clean our hands or feet and for a more satisfying “number two” cleanup.

Trash Bag: Gallon Ziplock Freezer Bags

Standard trash bags kept ripping on us, so we recently converted to much tougher and more compact ziplock gallon freezer bags for trash. The zip closure also helps keep odors down. We bring one for food and miscellaneous trash and one for toilet paper trash.

Chapstick: Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

No one wants chapped or sunburned lips in the backcountry (or anywhere).

Medicine: Ibuprofen and Equate Headache Relief

These are nice to have to prevent migraines, relieve altitude sickness, or combat inflammation/soreness.

S-Biners: Nite Ize S-Biner #4

Another miscellaneous item, these S-Biners have a number of uses. Generally, we use these to attach sandals to our packs.

Sandals: Chaco Z/2 Cloud

It’s nice to let your feet air out after a long day on the trail. Though Chacos are relatively heavy, we brought ours on this trip to let our feet breathe once at camp.

Books: “The Emerald Mile” and Amazon Kindle E-Reader

Sure, books are extra weight. But it’s just so nice to sit down with a great read and enjoy a quiet evening in the backcountry. We try to make camp around 3 or 4 p.m., so we like having the entertainment. “The Emerald Mile” is an excellent adventure book that we highly recommend. And, as we’re living full-time on the road, our Amazon Kindle e-reader has been really nice to have. We can rent e-books from our home library for free and avoid accumulating books on our RV.

The Food We Brought

food packing list for backpacking

Breakfast: Quaker Instant Oatmeal Protein and Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee

The Quaker Instant Oatmeal Protein packets are larger and more filling than standard instant oatmeal packets. Simply boil water, pour it straight into the packet, and voila!

Every good backpacking trip starts with coffee. Delicious and caffeinated, Alpine Start Original Blend Instant Coffee is our brew of choice.

Snacks: CLIF Bars, Peanut Butter Crackers, Sunbelt Bakery Oats & Honey Bars, Trail Mix, Gatorade Mix, Fruit

Food is fuel on long treks. We brought a mix of salty and sweet snacks on this particular trip, plus some caffeinated ones. One of CLIF’s newer flavors is Peanut Toffee Buzz, which contains caffeine. The Gatorade Mix kept us from getting tired of plain old water, and the fruit was a healthy pick-me-up.

Lunch: Peanut Butter and Honey Pita Sandwiches, Dill Pickle Chips, Fruit, Snickers

Though the pita bread wasn’t the best choice (it didn’t contain the honey very well), peanut butter and honey sandwiches tend to keep well and are packed with protein. Dill pickle chips are delicious and a great source of salt. For fruit, we often bring tougher ones like clementines and apples. Snickers serve as our backcountry dessert of choice.

Dinner: Omeals and Tea

Omeals are backpacking meals that don’t require a stove. You simply pour any liquid (hot or cold, filtered or unfiltered) into the package. An included “heating element” reacts with the liquid, heating it up and forcing steam out of the top “steam vent.” The heated liquid heats up the precooked food pouch inside, which you remove after five minutes. Just like that, you have a hot meal for one. We’ve brought them along on a number of backpacking trips and always enjoy the easy prep.

If it’s chilly out, after dinner we’ll sometimes make a few cups of tea. We like it because it helps us drink more water and is a great way to relax before bed.

Omeals backpacking food
Self-heating Omeals

My Trail Apparel

apparel for backpacking

Shirt: MtnLogic

The MtnLogic (since rebranded as Bight Gear) shirt is pilling where my backpack straps rest, but otherwise it’s a great breathable Polartec Delta shirt.

Shorts: Lululemon Surge 7-Inch Shorts

These Lululemon Surge shorts are lightweight, quick drying, and have yet to cause chafing. Plus, because there’s a liner, no underwear is needed.

Socks: Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks, Darn Tough Dashes Crew Light Socks, Stance Warm Socks

The Smartwool and Darn Tough socks are both made of merino wool, so they’re antimicrobial and stink-free. The Stance socks are a warmer pair that I wear at night or early in the morning.

Shoes: Merrell MQM Flex Mid Waterproof Boots

We didn’t know whether or not there would be stream or snow crossings on our trail, so I chose to wear my waterproof Merrell MQM Flex Mid boots. They’re plenty breathable, but the narrow foot box gave my pinky toes a few blisters.

Warm Jacket: The North Face Ventrix Hoodie

The Ventrix hoodie is warm, comfortable, and lightweight. It breathes really well, so I can hike in it late into the morning without breaking a sweat.

jacket and sweatpants for backpacking
The North Face Ventrix jacket and Showers Pass Track Pants

Sweatpants: Showers Pass Track Pants

These sweatpants are slim fitting and plenty warm for cold temps.

Rain Jacket: Marmot Eclipse Jacket

Though we didn’t need our rain gear on this particular trip, my Marmot Eclipse EVODry rain jacket is extremely waterproof without the crinkly, stuffy feel.

Miscellaneous Apparel: Mountain Hardwear Gloves, Flowfold Beanie, BUFF, Gap Long-Sleeved Shirt, ExOfficio Boxer Briefs, Columbia Running Hat, Wiley X Hudson Sunglasses

The gloves, beanie, and BUFF are great for keeping the extremities warm and the wind at bay. The long-sleeved Gap shirt is simply an extra comfortable layer to don if needed. At night, I usually change out of my hiking shorts and into my ExOfficio boxer briefs for extra comfort and cleanliness when sleeping. Even after repeated uses, they never smell. The Columbia running hat is cool and effective, and the Wiley X Hudson polarized sunglasses keep the squinting to a minimum.

My Wife’s Trail Apparel

girls apparel for backpacking

Shirts: Black Diamond S/S Block Tee and Under Armour Athletic T-Shirt

Both shirts are breathable, sweat-wicking, and long enough to not ride up my wife’s back when she’s wearing her backpack. She did regret bringing her white UA shirt because it got dirty very fast. So it’s now designated as a backpacking-only shirt.

Sports Bra: Under Armour Seamless Plunge

My wife’s Under Armour sports bra is her all-time favorite. It’s comfortable and supportive without being constricting. Plus, it’s cheap and sold at UA outlet stores.

Shorts & Leggings: Reebok Athletic Shorts and Leggings

The Reebok shorts and leggings are flattering and comfortable with a waistband like yoga pants.

Socks: Smartwool Socks, Cotton Ankle-High Socks From Target

The Smartwool hiking socks help keep odors down so they can be worn multiple days in a row.

hiking on a bridge
Black Diamond T-shirt, Reebok leggings, Merrell hiking boots

Shoes: Merrell Eventyr Bluff Waterproof Boots

These hiking boots are cute, waterproof, and durable. My wife wears them on short hikes, long backcountry outings, and even around town. The only downside is that the heel cup is beginning to stick out and cause blisters.

Warm Jacket: The North Face Ventrix jacket

She uses the Ventrix jacket for the same reasons I listed above. She likes that it has a hood so when her ears get cold hiking she can pull it on or off.

Sweatpants: Under Armour sweatpants

Her UA sweatpants provide a warm layer on top of shorts or leggings and repel wind and water.

Rain Jacket: Marmot Minimalist Waterproof Jacket

My wife has had this jacket since 2011, and it’s stood the test of time. She bought one size up for more rain coverage in the sleeves and body.

marmot rain jacket
Women’s Marmot Minimalist rain jacket

Miscellaneous Apparel: BUFF, Burton Long-Sleeved Base Layer, Qikpac Rain Pants

The Burton long-sleeved base layer is flattering, comfortable, and functional. It’s thin enough to go under any coat without feeling bulky and has thumb holes in the sleeves to keep them from riding up.

As for the rain pants, she uses them so infrequently that she honestly just wanted to find the cheapest pair. We scored when we found this pair in her size at Sierra Trading Post for $19. They serve their purpose, keep her dry, and have buttons to adjust the size around the ankles.

And that’s our packing list for our Teton Crest Trail backpacking adventure. Did we leave anything out? What are some of your favorite backpacking gear, food, or apparel items? What do you do for meals in the backcountry?

Let us know your backpacking tips and tricks, feedback, or questions.

Kyle Nossaman

An Arkansas native, Kyle Nossaman moved to Minneapolis after graduation and joined GearJunkie as an assistant editor and account manager. When he’s not hard charging through the city on his fixed gear bike, you’ll find him mountain biking, running, hiking, snowboarding, cheering on the Razorbacks or adventuring with his wife.